DENVER (KDVR) — The sole “no” vote to close Fairview Elementary on the Denver Public School Board, Aoun’tai Anderson, broke down why he voted not to close the school, the dispute about student numbers between DPS and Denver Housing Authority and what might become of the building.
“The community is just in a lot of pain right now,” Anderson said.
Anderson elaborated on his decision not to close the campus and what his concerns are.
“I was very concerned about the numbers that were being presented by the Denver Housing Authority and the numbers that were presented by the Denver Public Schools, they weren’t matching,” Anderson said.
Supporters argued it was too expensive to keep the school open and enrollment was too low, but the number of students in the Sun Valley neighborhood differed between DHA and DPS figures.
“The district is going off the school regional analysis and the birth rates and I think DHA is going off the units that they plan to have,” Anderson said.
The building will remain intact for the time being, according to Anderson.
“I do know that we won’t be selling this building, we won’t be giving away this property,” Anderson said. “We will hold on to all of our assets in the Denver Public Schools.”
Looking ahead for Fairview Elementary
Despite the outcome, the debate around Fairview, Anderson said, shed light on the process to close schools and planned housing developments.
“I would love to see the Denver Public Schools and DHA come together and say: ‘What does that look like?'” Anderson said, “potentially to build a school and then have affordable housing on top?”
While DHA and DPS had different figures for the number of students in the neighborhood, a school was still closed, but the impact of that debate could affect any future closure talks.
“We need to make sure these numbers align before we move forward because I don’t want to have to continue to reimagine elementary schools that maybe should never have been closed in the first place,” Anderson said.
After some housing is built in the Sun Valley neighborhood, Anderson said DPS could revisit reopening Fairview for families that move to the area.